In the early months of 1945, the long and bitter struggle against Nazi Germany reached a decisive stage. Allied forces launched a massive assault on the Rhineland as they prepared to push into the heart of the Third Reich. With the heavy casualties suffered by white soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge, black soldiers, for the first time, played a major combat role. And Sergeant Eddie Carter was right in the thick of the battle, serving in the 12th Armored Division under Patton, as he fought to secure the Rhine and stop the Nazis in their tracks. With a zealous fearlessness, Carter single-handedly captured several Germans and secured reconnaissance that would be critical in capturing Speyer. His efforts would win him. a Distinguished Service Cross. But it wasn't until fifty-two years later that Carter was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Here is the untold story of why the American government not only withheld Carter's much due recognition but why they also denied him -- one of the most decorated black American soldiers in WWII -- the opportunity to reenlist. And here, too, is the inspiring story of the valiant Carter family -- from the moving courtship of Eddie and his wife, Mildred, to the family's unrelenting efforts to get the American government to apologize and own up to the racism and McCarthyism that fueled years of deceit and bigotry.
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Allene G. Carter is a self-taught researcher and union activist who has been featured in a number of media outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
In 1936, Eddie Carter joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain, fighting in defense of the Republic. Following Franco's victory, Carter returned to America, married then volunteered when Pearl Harbor was bombed. His transportation unit finally went to Europe in 1944. When the front line ran short of white soldiers, the army asked black soldiers to volunteer for combat duty. Already a sergeant, Eddie volunteered, but was reduced in rank so he would be unable to command white troops. Attached to the 12th Armored Division, Carter entered combat at the German town of Speyer. When German resistance stiffened and endangered a race to secure a Rhine crossing, Carter singlehandedly wiped out enemy machine gun and mortar positions and took two prisoners, at the expense of being wounded many times. After the war, Carter was denied reenlistment privileges in the army, then dropped from the California National Guard. Why? His daughter-in-law Allene, using expert sleuthing skills, circumvented army stonewalling and eventually found that Carter had once innocently attended a postwar victory dinner that had been hosted by a Communist-affiliated society. He was spied on and secret files compiled. No black soldiers received Medals of Honor for their heroism in WWII, and in 1997 Pres. Bill Clinton awarded a Medal of Honor to Eddie's son Edward III (Eddie had died in 1963). The army later apologized, and Eddie's National Guard file was corrected. Sergeant Carter himself was saddened over his shoddy treatment when he had been wounded fighting for ideals that were denied to a significant segment of America's people. Allene's dogged determination to uncover the truth and correct the record is a proud testament to her background as a union activist.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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